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Fresh off a hot four games against Calgary and three against Edmonton before that, Yellow Springs hosted another Frontier division rival—this time the Seattle Storm. The Nine were hoping for their fifth win in a row, but ran into a murderer’s row that feasted on Jose Chavez and a series of relievers. On the other side of the fence, young starter Hector Marquez quieted the Nine’s bats. The result was an 11-2 Storm victory that humbled the upstart Heartland division leaders.
“We need to learn from this,” said manager Bill Inkster. “My parents did a good job of teaching me about this kind of thing, you know, you get knocked down a peg and you want to get angry, but really you just need to step back and make some corrections. I think the guys got down early and then it never just came together. But we’ll bounce back. That’s part of baseball. IT’s a long season and you don’t do everything right every day.”
They “bounced” back the following day in the form of getting efficient. The team scored six runs on a total of four hits and two walks (As well as two hit batsmen). Along the way, Lucas McNeill stole two bases, and hit the critical 3-run homer that put the team over the top—against left-handed Jose Souza, no less. Aaron Stone , of all people, moved a runner along with a key sacrifice bunt that helped score the team’s first run. Luis Colon was effective on the mound again, but Momcilo Djuretic (4-1) got the win and Curt Phillips saved his 19th game.
The third game of the series went to the Nine also, this time by a score of 4-3, powered by a solid start from Ernesto Ramos and homers off the bats of Jose Machado, Alfredo Salazar, and Dimiao Laqui. Salazar’s came with a runner on and capped a decisive three-run third inning.
“Dimiao had a great game for us,” Inkster said when asked about his platooned first baseman. “Not only did he have a couple hits, he started that nice 3-6-3 DP that erased Ernesto’s walk to lead off the second. That’s kind of an invisible thing that he can do that doesn’t really stick in most people’s minds. But I can tell you that Ernesto will remember.”
YS9 PASSES WILD FRONTIER TEST
Taking two of three games of the Seattle series left the team 8-2 in their last ten games. All against Frontier division leaders, and means this weird little team has passed a test of sorts, that being that they’ve responded to early season detractors who suggested an easy schedule was buoying their record. Now they have a major surge against the top of the Frontier to go with recent series wins over Pacific contenders in Valencia and San Fernando, and a split with California. The Nine will host another Pacific contender in Long Beach next, then head out of town to face Heartland rival Twin Cities.
“We’re having fun,” Inkster said. “I’m not sure how good we’ll be at the end of the year. But it’s been a blast so far on the way.”
Yellow Springs Nine
Playoff Regular, Landis Averse
Playoff Regular, Landis Averse